NHL, union resume sharing information
• Lots of questions, but still no answers in the NHL labor fight.
The league and the players’ association spent much of Saturday talking to each other via conference call. The conversations were strictly for the purpose of sharing information regarding the new contract offer the NHL made to the union late Thursday. The initial thought was that the sides would get together today in New York to hold official negotiations for the first time in weeks, but those hadn’t been scheduled as of late Saturday afternoon.
“Some more informational sessions in the morning,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press regarding today. “Nothing planned beyond that.”
The union pored over the latest NHL proposal aimed at ending the lockout that reached its 105th day Saturday and saving the delayed hockey season. The league would like to reach a deal no later than Jan. 11, which would allow training camps to start the following day, and a 48-game season to begin Jan. 19.
Saturday’s conference calls were scheduled Friday night so the union could ask league officials questions about the nearly 300-page proposal. Whether enough progress will be made to lead to face-to-face talks remains to be seen.
• Russia routed Germany 7-0 for its third consecutive victory at the junior ice hockey world championships in Ufa, Russia. Yaroslav Kosov scored a hat trick in the third period for the Russians. Nikita Kucherov gave the hosts the lead just a minute into the game, before Nail Yakupov and Danil Zharkov added goals in the first period. Defenseman Albert Yarullin netted the fourth in the second period. Russia goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevski had 41 saves. Russia tops Group B with nine points and will face Canada on Monday.
Djokovic captures title in Abu Dhabi
• Novak Djokovic retained his title at the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament by rallying past Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The top-ranked Serb swept past David Ferrer in straight sets to reach the final.
• Australia beat Germany 3-0 in the Hopman Cup mixed team competition in Perth, Australia, after Andrea Petkovic had to retire from her singles match with a right knee injury. Spain clinched a 2-1 victory over South Africa after winning the mixed doubles 6-4, 6-7 (3), 10-8.
• Li Na of China won the annual Hua Hin exhibition event in Hua Hin, Thailand, by beating top-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 2-6, 10-7 after a Champions tiebreaker.
British cycling star Wiggins is knighted
• Britain’s first-ever Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth on Saturday, in one of a range of awards for British sporting and Olympic success. The cyclist now becomes Sir Bradley Wiggins, in recognition of his winning of the yellow jersey in the grueling three-week French event in July. Sailor Ben Ainslie, who won Olympic gold at four consecutive Games, also got a knighthood, para-cyclist Sarah Storey became a dame, while heptathlete Jessica Ennis, cyclist Victoria Pendleton, distance runner Mo Farah and wheelchair-athlete David Weir all received Commander of the British Empire awards. Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, who failed to win Wimbledon this year, but did win the U.S. Open and an Olympic gold in tennis, received an Order of the British Empire award.
• Hannes Reichelt of Austria and Dominik Paris of Italy shared victory in the Bormio Classic with the same time on the Stelvio course in Bormio, Italy — usually considered the circuit’s most physically demanding — and the top four finishers were separated by a mere two-hundredths of a second in one of the closest finishes ever. Paris took the early lead by clocking 1 minute, 58.62 seconds for his first career win and Reichelt matched him to give Austria its first speed win of the season. Svindal finished 0.01 seconds behind — the smallest possible margin — and Klaus Kroell of Austria was fourth.
• Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia upset the favorites to win a World Cup night slalom in Semmering, Austria, for her first career victory. She trailed overall World Cup leader Tina Maze by 0.55 seconds after the opening leg but overtook the Slovenian with a near-flawless final run. Velez Zuzulova finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 37.28 seconds. Kathrin Zettel of Austria was 0.10 back. Maze was third.
• Heather Richardson dominated the U.S. Long Track Championships for the second day in a row in Kearns, Utah, setting a national record in winning the 1,000 meters and wrapping up the sprint title. Olympian Shani Davis won the men’s 1,000. Her time of 1 minute, 13.52 seconds at the Utah Olympic Oval broke Olympian Chris Witty’s mark of 1:13.83 set in 2002.
• Kikkan Randall of the United States claimed her second cross-country World Cup victory of the season when she won the prologue event of the Tour de Ski in Oberhof, Germany. Randall clinched the 3.1-kilometer sprint by leaving Charlotte Kalla of Sweden 4.4 seconds behind. World Cup leader Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland was third.
— From wire reports